BALTIMORE — When the Orioles are in a home-run groove, anyone in the lineup is capable of hitting the ball out — regardless of who's serving it up.
Just ask the Cardinals, who have absorbed two straight whippings from the AL East leaders.
Caleb Joseph homered in his fifth consecutive game, Nelson Cruz hit his 30th and former Ray Delmon Young also went deep as Baltimore beat John Lackey and St. Louis 10-3 Saturday.
All three home runs came with a man on against Lackey, making his second start since coming from the Red Sox in a July 31 trade. The right-hander fell to 14-8 lifetime against the Orioles.
Baltimore has hit nine homers in winning the first two games of the three-game set by a collective 22-5 score. It has captured seven straight series and leads the AL East by six games, its largest margin since September 1997.
"Obviously, they are a hot team right now," Lackey said. "They're swinging the bats well. Hits were falling in. A couple of them were hit real hard and they went out of the yard."
Joseph, a rookie, had three homers in his first 48 games before his recent power surge. The club record for homers in successive games is six, by Reggie Jackson and Chris Davis.
"Maybe seven, eight months ago I was thinking about hanging it up," Joseph said. "Every day in the big leagues is such a blessing, and especially to be on this team with this group of guys and to be in first place."
Baltimore leads the majors with 147 and has connected in eight straight games. Over the past two days, eight different Orioles have homered.